Thieves steal car from cash-strapped hospitality worker

Brendan Rees

A Kensington man who has lost work due to COVID restrictions has been left reeling after his car was stolen and later found burnt out last month.

Will, who asked that his surname not be used, said he woke to find his car, a white 1988 Honda Civic, missing from the front of his home at the corner of Bateman Rd and The Crescent on September 19 despite it being locked and having a flat battery.

“I was so angry at the time; all I was thinking was pure anger. I just had to accept it was just gone because there was nothing that I could do,” he said after reporting the incident to police.

“I was literally about to move it within a day or two into the carport, just bad timing really.”

Fortunately, a vigilant neighbour who witnessed the incident about 7.15am from her window provided Will with CCTV which has been passed on to the police.

“I was asleep at the time. They’ve basically just got in … they would’ve just jemmied the door or something and you can see them [on footage] push-starting it to actually get it going,” Will said.

He said his car, which was worth around $5000, was his pride and joy after he spent two years restoring it as a hobby, but because it was an older model it didn’t have an alarm system and until recently had a flat battery.    

After viewing the footage, Will said he was shocked to see a hooded bandit jump in his car while his associates used another car, which appeared to be Volkswagen Golf hatchback, to help bump-start it before both cars drove off in broad daylight.

“One of them is fully masked, he’s got gloves on and everything. Another doesn’t even care, he’s smoking a cigarette,” Will said.

About a week later after his car was stolen, Will said he got a call from police to say they had recovered it in a “burnt out shell” in Melton, and that the number plates had allegedly been used in another crime.

To make matters worse, Will, 30, said he hadn’t insured it due to him being strapped for cash as his shifts in hospitality had been drastically reduced during repeated lockdowns.  

“The restrictions mean when I have had work it’s been a really reduced capacity to the point where I’m only getting a couple of shifts a week,” he said.

“One shift a week or two shifts a week, you can’t live on it. It’s like $150 to $200; it’s way less than Centrelink [payments].”

In the meantime, Will said he had luckily had another car, also a Honda Civic, to get around in, but conceded “I’m just really cautious about what I have now and locking up everything”.

Police have been contacted for comment regarding the incident.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Melbourne Embona Taskforce detectives have released CCTV in the hope of identifying two men following an attempted aggravated carjacking and armed robbery in West Melbourne on August 28. 

Police have been told a 36-year-old man was parked on Roden St with his baby in the back seat about 12.35pm when it’s believed two men approached and opened the driver side and passenger side doors.

“The man on the driver’s side brandished a knife and demanded the victim get out of the car,” a police spokeswoman said.

“The victim told him his son was in the back seat and he stepped away.”

“The man on the passenger side then reached inside and punched the victim to his face before stealing his wallet from the centre console,” before both men then took off on pushbikes towards King St.” •

Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000

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